Cleanse vs Detox: What are They and What are the Benefits?
Cleanses and detox have grown in popularity over the last decade or so. Most people who’ve launched a health journey are familiar with the terms, however, there’s always more we can learn. That’s why we’re diving in and comparing a cleanse vs. detox today.
Hopefully, we’ll answer all of your questions. And spur you on to greater health, which is always my goal!
What is the difference between a cleanse and a detox?
While a cleanse and detox have an overlap in benefits, they are implemented and work differently.
Why You Need a Health Cleanse
Cleanses can be compared to weeding a garden. The goals are to leave the good and remove the unwanted.
It seems no matter how much mulch and fabric I put down in my flower beds I still get weeds to some degree. The same is true in our health.
We take every precaution possible and make healthy decisions on a daily basis, and there will always be unwanted elements from our environment needing removal.
And let’s face it, most of us cave to processed foods once in a while.
Even when eating healthy, though, we still absorb toxins in the body. The air, water, and chemicals in the soil have changed forever the purity of our food.
This is another reason to eat the healthiest foods possible!
And a solid reason to purge toxins from our bodies on a regular basis.
A healthy cleanse is designed to keep the good: gut bacteria and microflora. These help the body rid itself of all the trash accumulated in our digestive tract.
How amazing that God gave us resources in our bodies to filter out the trash!
Yet still, our bodies, especially our digestive tract, sometimes need help to do its job to the utmost.
As a bonus, a good healthy cleanse helps reestablish the gut bacteria and microbiome. Not only does it flush out toxins, it helps the body be more equipped to do its job of regular maintenance.
On the other hand, an unhealthy cleanse can interrupt the pH balance and cause a hormonal imbalance.
Best Cleanse Choices
Now you may be wondering what is an unhealthy cleanse. It’s using products full of synthetic or toxin ingredients. Typically food is the best option.
When we have a sluggish system this can mean a lot of waste hanging around; in our digestive system and also stored throughout our entire body.
Using different ingredients – such as ACV (organic apple cider vinegar), parsley/ginger teas, fresh vegetables – helps clean our system. In addition, they will in turn help other systems in our body to purge the unhealthy stuff as well. It becomes a community accumulative effect.
Every opportunity we allow our digestive system to take a break by:
- eating less
- eating super clean fresh vegetables
- avoiding high taxing foods such as proteins, fats,
- avoiding processed and junk foods
…Our entire body responds with more energy and mental clarity.
I’m ready for those benefits, are you?
(P.S. Sometimes these benefits – energy and mental clarity – aren’t experienced for up to 4 days. Be patient, though. They will come! Keep reading till the end as I share why this day 4 can be difficult to reach and the spiritual implications of cleaning house in your body.)
Now let’s look at the term detox:
How Detox Works
Our liver and kidneys are continually detoxifying everything we come in contact with. It’s their God-given responsibility.
Don’t you love our God for knowing before time what we would need today?
Until we get to heaven, we will always be exposed to toxins:
- heavy metals
- environment pollutants
- too much iron in our water
The level of contaminants absorbed will depend on how careful you are with eating and body products, and there’s no way we can eliminate all the toxins that are rampant in our environment.
Therefore, we need a healthy liver and kidneys so they can accomplish their detox job.
While a cleanse weeds out the extra trash in our digestive system, a detox focuses on improving the function of these two organs.
The two can be done together, and it is like splitting hairs to even separate the two terms. So, instead of thinking in terms of cleanse vs detox, we can think of them working in conjunction with each other and both being beneficial to our health.
When do we need to detox or cleanse?
Everyone should aim for at least once a year. Twice would be even better.
The best seasons are spring and fall.
Consider the biblical seasons of the feast.
In the spring, the season of feasts starts with Purim, which leads into Passover, and then Pentecost. This is a time of spiritual renewal. A time of seeking God, praying for a good harvest and also celebrating the Feast of Fruits.
These times of reflection help us stay centered on God and not get distracted with worldly influences.
In the fall is the Feast of the Gathering. The season of growth has come to an end and it is time to gather for the final celebration. Again, it’s a time of reflection and centering our focus on the One who provides and is coming again.
When we schedule these around the two feast seasons, we can incorporate powerful spiritual lessons. Therefore, we get both physical healing and spiritual renewal.
What are detox or cleanse benefits?
A detox improves the functioning of the liver and kidneys. These two organs are primarily responsible for how you feel and how healthy your future will be.
When you are feeling tired, sluggish, constipated, angry, moody, have skin issues, have hormonal swings, have infertility – plus so much more – these are signs the kidneys and liver need attention.
A cleanse is a sweep to get rid of toxins built up in the digestive system, which therefore transfers healing throughout the entire body.
Weight loss very well may be a beneficial result. Let’s not make this the focus as it most likely will be temporary. Detox diets are helpful to overall health and are best in short term segments instead of long term. Detox, cleanse, and then move on to healthy foods.
If more energy and mental clarity are not results, then I would guess you cheated and had some sugar, processed foods, or other ingredients that interrupted the process. Beware of these infiltrators!
Also, be aware that this may be a sign of a lack of discipline that might apply to your spiritual life as well.
Don’t let guilt or condemnation creep in! Take all of it to the Lord and let Him do healing work through His mercy, grace, and love.
What does a cleanse do to your body?
Let’s talk about what it doesn’t do.
They should not be used for weight loss. It will lead to weight loss because of lower caloric intake and less protein and fat. Cleanses don’t lead to sustained weight loss.
The main goal, therefore, should not be to use them as a diet tool or to lose weight long term. (Don’t think of detox diets as something to do long-term as a sustainable diet to continually lose weight or try to keep weight off.)
However, using it to jump-start your weight loss is a good option.
Cleanses aren’t life-sustaining. Protein and fats are essential to long term health. Adding these back in is necessary for all systems in your body to work.
Is detoxing good for you?
Do you remember in college how assignments just seemed to keep coming? Maybe you procrastinated and eventually, you got overwhelmed with the number of papers due.
I would pray for a snowstorm just so I could take time to get caught up and finish my work.
Well, a cleanse or detox is the same. They give your body a chance to catch up.
If you are considering doing a cleanse or detox – just know that your body will thank you.
When using healthy foods and trusted supplements that include herbs such as dandelion root, milk thistle, and Reishi mushroom, the level of detox will go deeper and the results will have you jumping for joy.
I go deeper into this cleanse vs detox comparison, which you can learn more about in this video. Check it out!
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Detox vs Laxative
If done properly, a detox should improve the functioning ability of organs such as the kidneys and liver. Many times after a healthy detox, normal colon function returns.
A laxative is only designed to release material from the large colon, not to aid the entire digestive tract. If done improperly, this could cause an imbalance in the microbiome.
Since the effect of constipation is hazardous to health, a laxative is sometimes necessary. If it’s needed on a daily or weekly basis, then diet changes are needed by incorporating more raw vegetables and healthy whole grains.
Lack of water and essential fats can also lead to constipation for many people. And finally, lack of magnesium can lead to constipation, in which adding more magnesium-rich foods such as figs, beans, avocado, will help. A magnesium supplement from a trusted company can also be helpful.
Benefits of a Detox or Cleanse For Christians
The Old and New Testaments refer to fasting as a spiritual discipline. It is a discipline used to seek a greater understanding of God’s plan for life at the moment and for future decisions.
Any time we change our eating plan – change our food groups for a short duration – this gives our bodies a chance to heal from food sensitivities PLUS it gives our heart a chance to heal from addictions.
Cleanses and detoxes are a form of fasting. They’re a chance to put aside our regular eating patterns. A change of pace. A chance for more clarity both mentally and spiritually.
Any addiction, whether food or other, can be a deterrent to our worship. When we are always focused on foods or certain foods, our mind is less focused on being in continual prayer for daily moments.
A detox or cleanse helps us focus on better things. This only happens, though, when we embrace these health tools with the right attitude.
They’re not something to do because it’s been recommended by a health professional. Instead, we want to embrace these practices because they have so many benefits to our wholeness and wellness.
I want to take you to Israel. Picture it. Imagine you’re walking up the steps of the southern temple entrance.
The steps to the southern entrance to the temple in Jerusalem were irregular on purpose. This helped people change their focus as they entered to worship.
The steps in our life need to be irregular sometimes so we can change our focus on eating.
Sometimes we’re so busy and in a routine, we go through our days just checking things off a list or calendar. We stay at a crazy, fast pace.
Instead, God says, “Wait a minute. It’s time to worship. I want you to change your pace.”
When the steps are irregular, we have to consciously think about what we’re doing and what our choices are.
When I think about a cleanse or detox, it’s an opportunity to change the pace of life. They allow us an opportunity to reevaluate what’s important. Both physically and spiritually.
They’re not just about the physical benefits. Cleansing and detoxing are about emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits, too. That’s why I recommend doing a cleanse or detox in the spring and fall in conjunction with biblical festivals.
Wrapping it up – How to Persevere Through a Cleanse or Detox
During detoxification, yes, enjoy the physical benefits. They will happen and bless you!
If you’ve ever had trouble making it to day 4, it may be due to a spiritual battle going on inside.
Our bodies don’t want to give up sugar. Our bodies don’t want to give up control of eating when, what, and how much we want.
Reaching day 4 means making it past day 3 to achieve victory. This is when the true breakthrough comes.
Remember, Jesus was in the tomb 3 days before He arose.
God wants us to change our focus spiritually and physically so everything we do will be aligned with what He wants for us.
Our interruption in our routine allows that reevaluation of where we are physically and spiritually. We grow in our understanding of where we are health-wise and have an opportunity to do a reset.
With fall coming right around the corner, now’s the perfect time to set a schedule and a plan.
May you be blessed and I’d love to hear how your health – physical and spiritual – is benefited!